On a warm June evening, Atascadero High School celebrated 256 graduates Wednesday at its commencement ceremony for the Class of 2018.
“I hope you feel a sense of wonder and excitement when you think about your life and all the potential it holds for you," Atascadero High Principal Bill Neely told the graduates during the ceremony. "Please remember that even in this fast-paced, ever-changing world, you alone are responsible for the attitude you choose and the effort you put forth. I challenge you to make the most of your human condition. Struggle and succeed, struggle and fail, but by all means, embrace the struggle.”
Class of 2018 valedictorian was Franko Jira, who will be attending Harvard in the fall. Ashlyn Brookshire, who will attend UC Berkeley, was salutatorian.
“Real life can be scary, and often times we feel like we’re left to figure it out on our own. However, we’re not alone, and we haven’t been alone," Jira said during his speech.
Students heading to college plan to study biology/pre-med, aerospace engineering, teaching, dentistry and the performing arts, among other majors. They will be attending schools such as Cal Poly, UCLA, American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA), Colorado State, UC Davis, San Jose State, Chico State, East Tennessee State University and Cuesta College.
Ten students are going into the military, and student-athletes plan to compete at the collegiate level in water polo, basketball, baseball and volleyball.
Paloma Creek High School and Atascadero Choices in Education Academy (ACE Academy)
Ninety students became the first graduates of the newly named Paloma Creek High School and Atascadero Choices in Education Academy Academy (formerly Del Rio Continuation High School and West Mall Alternative, respectively) on Wednesday in Atascadero.
Among the graduates were nine students who finished high school a year early and one student who graduated and simultaneously earned his AA degree from Cuesta College.
All of the 65 Paloma Creek High School graduates are enrolled at Cuesta College for the upcoming fall semester.
Among the 25 ACE Academy students who graduated Wednesday are those who have been accepted into colleges such as Cal Poly, UC Davis, Santa Clara University, Arizona State University, Wichita State University and the University of Hawaii.
"Every student in our graduating classes has a unique story or life circumstances that have brought them to alternative education," said Chris Balogh, Paloma Creek High School and ACE Academy principal. "I am extremely proud of the class of 2018 — they have demonstrated an incredible level of self-direction to earn their diplomas. Our future is in good hands with this group of graduates."